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School Security Under Review

Town, education, police are evaluating security and safety procedures for Greenwich public schools.

 

Town, education and police officials met Wednesday to discuss how security and safety procedures in Greenwich public schools can be improved

The review comes in the wake of the Dec. 14 massacre at the Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown where a man armed with two handguns and an assault rifle blasted his way into the school before killing 20 students and six staff members including the principal and school psychologist.

First Selectman Peter Tesei met Wedneday with School Superintendent William McKersie, Police Chief James Heavey and Board of Education Chair Leslie Moriarty to review existing procedures. "We are reviewing what procedures, safeguards we do have in place and are reviewing them with staff, making refinements to areas of vulnerability," Tesei said.

"It's a collaboration between the school administration, the police department, this office to bring together law enforcement and education officials with school faculty and staff who have to be equipped," Tesei said. Safety drills will be scheduled. Heavey said earlier this week that officials decided that given emotional sensitivity of students and staff, drills previously scheduled for this week were postponed in the wake of the Newtown shootings.

All schools have security procedures and systems in place. "We are looking at a second layer of security," Tesei said. It is too early to determine what the financial impact would be for security improvements, Tesei said.

Asked whether assigning school resource officers—assigned police officers—to each of the town's 16 public schools is under consideration, Tesei said, "SRO's is being discussed....(but) it's not going to be recommended for all schools."

Many school districts in Connecticut have assigned armed security officers to schools following the Newtown shootings.

Greenwich High School has had a School Resource Officer assigned to the Hillside Road campus since 2007, that's in addition to the high school's own security staff. The GHS resource officer also handles assignments at each of the town's three middle schools. Under discussion is whether an SRO should be assigned to each middle school.

"Our responsibility is to focus on life safety. If they identify existing procedures tht need to be addressed, I will support it," Tesei said.

Since the Newtown massacre, Greenwich Police have expanded their presence at local schools until classes dismiss for the Christmas break on Dec. 21.

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